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Banned Books and the Election

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There’s a bogus list of books that Palin wanted banned making the rounds on the internet these past few days. In reality the books listed were taken from a site listing books that were once banned in the United States. And while the list is clearly disinformation at its finest, it at least brings attention to the fact that Palin attempted to fire a librarian after inquiring into banning some books from the library. According to Anne Kilkenny who has known Palin since ’92:

‘While Sarah was Mayor of Wasilla she tried to fire our highly respected City Librarian because the Librarian refused to consider removing from the library some books that Sarah wanted removed. City residents rallied to the defense of the City Librarian and against Palin’s attempt at out-and-out censorship, so Palin backed down and withdrew her termination letter. People who fought her attempt to oust the Librarian are on her enemies list to this day.’

This poses a threat to the liberty of writers, book lovers, publishers, and libraries everywhere in the country. This means that it’s extremely important to put additional emphasis on this year’s ‘Banned Books Week-Celebrating the Freedom to Read’ (Sept. 27-Oct. 4). Spread the word…

The 21st Century Writer

Good article on the future of writing and publishing with Tim O’ Reilly, Stephen Abram, Douglas Rushkoff, and Frank Daniels:

“It’s a snowy February Monday in midtown Manhattan. Publishing magnate and tech guru Tim O’Reilly’s ‘Tools of Change’ conference has just opened at a Marriott off Broadway. The timing is fortunate; publishers HarperCollins and Random House have just announced that they will be offering more book content online and au gratis. The affable O’Reilly-who has been urging publishers to go digital since the early eighties-refuses to gloat (much). ‘They weren’t even trying to keep electronic copies [of manuscripts],’ recalls O’Reilly. ‘You look at these announcements today, they seem too little too late,… but it’s allowing them to start innovating, to become part of the technology process.’ ‘Twenty years ago, people wouldn’t have listened,’ says Sara Domville, president of F+W Publications book division. ‘They’ll listen now.’

As the publisher of an extremely popular series of computer manuals, O’Reilly is a bright star in a field of drab. Dubbed the ‘guru of the participation age’ by Steven Levy in a 2005 Wired profile and a ‘graying hippie’ with a ‘hostility toward traditional media’ by author Andrew Keen, O’Reilly makes millions of dollars promoting open source at his conferences and selling do-it-yourself know-how to anyone who browses the computer aisle at Barnes and Noble. His message to the world’s publishing elite exudes a Wizard of Oz simplicity: Give more product away on your Web site, thereby attracting more people to sell on something pricier than a book- like a bunch of books or a conference ticket. The approach works for him at least. Some 900 publishing execs from Simon and Schuster, Norton, etc., have paid $1,100 apiece (on average) to learn how to give content away.

‘I think I’m optimistic,’ said Sonia Nash of Random House, echoing the uncertainty of the attendees, editors, and publishers from around the world eager to find some reason to feel good about the future of what they sell.”

(via The Futurist)

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